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Djibouti mission for POLDEF and ESM auditors from the national session

Friday 14 January 2022

Listeners to the 74e major POLDEF and 7e A major ESM has arrived in the Republic of Djibouti for its annual study mission.

This trip gives IHEDN students the opportunity to find out first-hand about France's political and military objectives and challenges in this region of the Horn of Africa, and to meet the people behind them. French forces stationed in Djibouti (FFDj).

Welcomed by the French Forces in Djibouti under the best possible conditions and in strict compliance with anti-CoVid measures, the visit began with a welcome address by French Ambassador to Djibouti Arnaud GUILLOIS and the Commander of the FFDj, Air Division General Stéphane DUPONT.

Saturday 15 January 2022

Departure before dawn for the desert and the three dynamic joint demonstrations of RDF capabilities. By sea or through the arid valleys, the audience first reached the beach at Arta to witness the first "sea to land" operation.

After this invigorating wake-up call, punctuated by a demonstration of the Marine Commandos' capabilities, they head for the Koron area to witness an "Air-Terrestrial Combat" by the 5e RIAOM and Djibouti Armed Forces (FAD) supported by air and land forces.

Finally, at sunset, a third-dimensional demonstration by the air forces stationed on the Air Base 188 as part of the Shikra missionand ALAT helicopters with the participation of the commando marines, impressed the audience with a succession of breathtaking aerial passages.

Sunday 16 January 2022

After an evening and a night bivouacked in the desert, it was time for the audience to get back into shape at the hotel before the first series of lectures.

After an introductory lecture by SE.M Arnaud GUILLOIS, Mr Mahmoud ALI YOUSSOUFDjibouti's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation came to present the major challenges facing his country's foreign policy.

This was followed by two particularly rich round tables. The first looked at the major challenges facing the Indo-Pacific region as seen from Djibouti, and was attended by H.E. Umio OTSUKAAmbassador of Japan and H.E. Mr Ramachandran CHANDRAMOULIAmbassador of India, alongside their French counterpart. The second focused on economic issues and prospects in the Republic of Djibouti, with a panel of local representatives and expatriates: Mr Ahmed Osman AliGovernor of the Central Bank, Mr Régis BarriacDirector of the Banque pour le Commerce et l'Industrie - Mer Rouge (BCIMR), Mr Abdillahi Adaweh SigadManaging Director of Société de Gestion du Terminal Conteneur (SGTD) and Mr Claude AugerProject Manager at Eiffage Infrastructure in Djibouti.

Monday 17th January 2022

The second series of conferences before the audience returned to France was also highly interactive, in the form of round-table discussions with a varied and high-level panel of speakers. First up, H.E. Mr Aidan O'HARAAmbassador of the European Union to the Republic of Djibouti, Mr Eric OVERVESTUN Resident Coordinator in Djibouti, and Captain Dominique GIRYOperation Atalanta Liaison Officer, spoke to listeners on the subject of "Djibouti in its international environment. Then, the Commander of the Fdj with his American counterpart Major General William L. ZANACJTF - Horn of Africa, and Japanese colonel Kazuhiro Kuwaharaand the DGPE presented their shared views on the strategic value of armed forces stationed abroad.

Lastly, a series of open and enlightened discussions between the French Ambassador, the Commander of the FFDj and the Director of the IHEDN brought this instructive mission to a close.

It was with stars in their eyes, impressed by the quality of the welcome they had received and proud of the capabilities and professionalism of their armies that, in the evening, the listeners took off for metropolitan France on an overnight flight. It didn't take long for them to drift off to sleep, as the continuous flow of activity over the last three days came to a sudden halt. Tired but happy, the listeners will long remember this unique mission to Djibouti.